Mayo Clinic Minute: Demystifying epilepsy

Ian Roth: Epilepsy can be a jarring condition, and it's more common than you probably think.

Joseph Sirven, M.D.: Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age.

Ian Roth: In fact, Dr. Joseph Sirven, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says 1 out of every 26 Americans has a risk of developing epilepsy.

Dr. Sirven: Every brain has the potential to have a seizure. It just depends on what the circumstances are and what are the conditions around it that may lead to a seizure or epilepsy in some people.

Ian Roth: Dr. Sirven says some people are born with epilepsy, while others develop it from head trauma, certain infections, brain tumors, stroke, hemorrhages or even Alzheimer's disease. He says most epilepsy patients can control their seizures with medication. Others with more severe cases may require surgery. But in some cases where surgery isn't possible, doctors can implant a device similar to a pacemaker for the heart that can control seizures. Even though almost anyone can develop epilepsy, there are some simple things you can do to lower your risk.

Dr. Sirven: Avoid alcohol. Get plenty of sleep. And then thirdly is find ways to manage stress.

Ian Roth: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Ian Roth.

Last Updated Feb 7, 2019

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